A more serious challenge came from English poet and historian Robert Conquest who charged Lewis and Charles Williams with holding and promoting totalitarian sympathies. While his criticism applied mainly to Williams, Lewis became a part of the controversy by praising Williams’s Arthurian poetry. The two men, Conquest claimed, willfully obscured the venerable mythology, thus rendering it and its story unintelligible to the average person. They turned the vast Arthurian legend into a “complex intellectual parlour game,” a gnostic jumble, accessible only to the Elect. In Williams (and, by inference, in Lewis), one finds “a genuine writer who has fully accepted a closed and monopolistic system of ideas and feelings, and what is more, puts it forthrightly with its libidinal component scarcely disguised.” That which is intelligible advocates the use of violence “to bring in unbelievers” with human beings treated merely as a means to an end. Lewis and Williams each promote a “psychology of totalitarianism—of hierarchy and sadism.”
— Read on theimaginativeconservative.org/2019/12/cs-lewis-his-critics-bradley-birzer.html
Like no other songwriters of their time, the British band encapsulated fears of tyranny and conformity, war and mass consumption.
— Read on www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/if-orwell-had-an-anthem-pink-floyd-would-have-produced-it/
Cicero took this line of argumentation much further—and with much greater depth—in his famous dialogue, On the Laws. Here, though, Cicero’s speaker claimed that through reason the universe is one with God, offering a sort of intelligent pantheism. “Thus we can assume that the universe must possess wisdom and that the element which holds together all that exists excels in perfect reason. From this we see that the universe is in fact God and that the vital force of the universe is held together by this divine nature.” In and through its own reason, the universe also moves toward perfection, order, and harmony. From its beginning, the universe was good and wise, and it only moves towards an even greater goodness, truth, and beauty. In our contemplation of the good, the true, and the beautiful, we humans become better. “Humans have emerged for contemplating and imitating the universe. We are certainly not perfect, but we are a part of perfection.”
— Read on theimaginativeconservative.org/2019/12/how-think-about-god-pagan-mere-christianity-bradley-birzer.html
Even as Peter Jackson’s blockbuster film versions of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit have brought J. R. R. Tolkien’s imaginative creations to the masses, the underlying meaning of Middle-earth has remained o
— Read on isibooks.org/j-r-r-tolkien-s-sanctifying-myth-2124.html
Perhaps no modern thinker best represented these changes than did Thomas Hobbes. In his seminal work, Leviathan, Hobbes called for the creation of a “mortal god”—the Leviathan—to counter and augment the will of the “immortal god.” In his view of society, man was utterly and completely depraved, incapable of anything but self-interest and cannibalism. “Hereby it is manifest that during the time men live without a common power to keep them all in awe, they are in that condition which is called war, and such a war as is of every man against every man,” he wrote. “For war consists not in battle only, or the act of fighting, but in a tract of time wherein the will to contend by battle is sufficiently known; and therefore the notion of time is to be considered in the nature of war as it is in the nature of weather.” As such, when men are left to their own devices, Hobbes laments, there can exist no industry, no agriculture, “no navigation; nor use of the commodities that may be imported by the sea; no commodious building; no instruments of moving, and removing, such things as require much force; no knowledge of the face of the earth; no account of time; no arts; no letters; no society; and which is worst of all, continual fear and danger of violent death; and the life of man, solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.” The immortal god, Hobbes admits, has bestowed upon each of the natural right and liberty of self-preservation. Rather, however, than seeing this right as extending to all of mankind, we selfishly hoard the natural right for ourselves and use it as a pretext for violence upon and against our neighbor.
— Read on theimaginativeconservative.org/2019/12/hobbes-leviathan-collectivist-horror-bradley-birzer.html
Where did you attend college? Notre Dame for undergrad. Indiana University for graduate school. How did you propose to your wife? I wrote out 95 reasons why she should marry me and posted them on the cathedral door in Helena, Montana because she was Lutheran. I took her there at about 20 minutes to midnight on February 12th of 1998. She said yes. If you were on a desert island, what three books would you bring? “The Lord of the Rings,” the Bible, and “City of God.” You’re on a desert island and get access to one website. What do you choose? The Imaginative Conservative. Would you rather climb Mount Everest or go to the bottom of the ocean in a submarine? Everest. Do you have any superstitions? I believe in ghosts.
— Read on hillsdalecollegian.com/2019/12/quick-hits-bradley-birzer-a-weekly-rapid-fire-interview/
When I was a kid, I loved, loved the Sears Wish Book. It was a catalog full of toys and games and pajamas and other stuff kids might want to put on their gift-request lists. I can still smell the ink on the paper of the Wish Book. I want that Star Wars toy and this video game and, no, I don’t want that pillow, c’mon mom, who wants a pillow for Christmas?
Clearly someone at Amazon has been thinking of the power of colorful print catalogs to promote products, because last month, we got an 89-page catalog from Amazon in our mailbox, titled “Play Together: Amazon’s Ultimate Wish List for Kids!”
— Read on sixcolors.com/post/2019/12/amazons-mystifying-paper-catalogs/
That spring, Williams and Lewis formally met one another, in person, and discovered an immediate kinship of ideas and personalities. Despite the geographical distance between them, the two continued to read each others’ works and correspond about them. Indeed, Lewis liked Williams’s 1937 novel, Descent into Hell, as much as he had Place of the Lion, if not more. “I think this is the best book you have given us yet,” he assured Williams. Again, a year later, in 1938, Lewis approved of Williams’s following book, He Came Down from Heaven, seeing in it timeless truths equal to those of “Plato, Augustine, or Pascal.” Playfully, Lewis teased Williams for his many successes. “Damn you, you go on getting steadily better ever since you first crossed my path: how do you do it? I begin to suspect that we are living in the ‘age of Williams’ and our friendship with you will be our only passport to fame. I’ve a good mind to punch your head when we next meet.
— Read on theimaginativeconservative.org/2019/12/living-same-spiritual-world-c-s-lewis-charles-williams-bradley-birzer.html
I’m very happy to announce–through the very good and gracious efforts of Joseph Pearce and Winston Elliott–this Stormfields blog will be heading to print immediately.
As of the January/February 2020 issue of the St. Austin Review, Stormfields will be a regular column.
I’ll still be posting here as well, of course, but I’m excited to branch out into other areas of publishing. I’m also, of course, excited to work with Joe, one of our single finest biographers and writers in the world today.
If you don’t yet, please consider subscribing to the St. Austin Review, one of the finest Catholic print magazines in existence.
My latest book, Beyond Tenebrae: Christian Humanism in the Twilight of the West, is now out from Angelico Press. The book is available for purchase at Angelico or at amazon.com.
Considering longish definitions of conservatism and humanism, the book claims that biography is the best way to approach understanding in our post-modern whirligig of a world.
Beyond Tenebrae: Christian Humanism in the Twilight of the West: Bradley J. Birzer: 9781621384977: Amazon.com: Books
Beyond Tenebrae: Christian Humanism in the Twilight of the West [Bradley J. Birzer] on Amazon.com. *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. Beyond Tenebrae is about Christian humanism in all its breadth and depth, and the persons and groups best embodying it (quite apart from any particular social or political stance) in the last century and a half. Modern readers who sense the greatness of the “Republic of Letters” that commenced with the wisdom of the ancient Greeks and has endured for over two millennia will benefit from being introduced to the great men and women presented in these pages
— Read on www.amazon.com/dp/1621384977/ref=sr_1_fkmr0_1